back to article Android apps now playable on Windows PCs

Bluestacks has released an alpha-test version of software which allows Android apps to be run on Windows machines. The start-up spoke with El Reg earlier this year about its eponymous product and how it works. Well, now you can try it for yourselves. The 117MB file creates a little widget on the desktop. When launched, it …


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  1. Alan Bourke

    I am unclear

    as to why anyone other than Android developers and app reviewers would conceivably want to do this.

    1. Simon Ward

      Because they can?

      1. Goat Jam


        Your use of the Tux icon here is unwarranted because for Tux users, they can't.

    2. spencer

      Some apps are good enough for desktop.

      ^See title.

    3. patrick_bateman


      If anyone trys to sell me a phone and mentions the words apps they would get a wet fish slap.

      I think 99% of apps are stupid and useless - just time wasting or a fad.

      1% of apps are sweeeeeet and I would love just to give a little click and use them on my laptop or desktop.

      Isn't this a variant of the adobe air type thing. cross platform applications that are small to run or even can be run from the web?

      (god i hate adobe, just starting to remove all air/reader/flash programs and go for open source, there to big, clunky and always need updating)

  2. Error Message Silver badge

    What am I missing?

    If I wanted to run Android apps on my PC, why would I not just run them in the emulator that came with my free copy of the Android SDK?

    1. spencer

      Because -

      The SDK is hideously slow.

      I've got a standard spec netbook that can hardly run the SDK.

      If this is close to native speeds then it's a win in my eyes.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Meanwhile in Redmond

    Codes are working day and night to make this app unrunnable on Windows 8

    Above them in their office is the old slogan.

    'The Job ain't done until Lotus don't run!'

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    It's good, in parts

    It installed first time with no problems on my Windows 7 laptop. It appears as an enormous Gadget on your screen. To 'subscribe' to apps, you need to log in to the Bluestacks site using a Facebook identity; during which you have to give Bluestacks permission to see all your Facebook info (including your friends) and also give it the ability to make post on your behalf (that's what it read like). I was willing to do this since my Facebook account was set up just to see what it was about.

    Then, with the Bluestacks Cloud Connect app, from the Android market, on my Vega tablet (not my phone, I'm not that trusting), you can choose which of your installed Android apps to sync over to your PC. To do this, you need to enter a PIN than is provided to you on the Bluestacks website after you've signed in via Facebook.

    Syncing over an Android app takes time, maybe a couple of minutes before it appears as an icon on your PC, so be patient. I synced over the RealCalc app, so I had a giant scientific calculator running on my laptop..... cool.

    Android calendar apps will transfer over and run but (in my case) do not show any events, claiming that no calendars are selected. I assume this is because they expect to read that information from the phone/tablet itself and cannot do this when running on your PC.

    In fact, for any Google calendar/maps/docs/mail/reader, etc application, you'd be better using the PC browser in the first place. (I don't have games and am not interested in them so someone else can comment on those.)

    Where Bluestacks is useful is for Android apps that need lots of typing. For this, I synced over ColorNote and PostEver. These work fine at fullscreen and I could create and edit ColorNote notes with full functionality but using a proper keyboard on a PC. These were then available on my Vega tablet and my Wildfire phone after a manual sync at both ends. This is useful if you want to do lots of in-app typing. You use mouse click/drag control as you would use your finger on a touch screen.

    Apart from apps that benefit from use of a big screen and a real keyboard, I can't think of anything that would benefit from this in a big way (except for games maybe).

    As far as I can tell, you need to be logged into Bluestacks on their website and on your Android device (entering the PIN) for it all to work. Even then, it took about a minute or more for functionality to become available. If you decide that an Android app is not suitable for this treatment, it takes a while for it to be removed from the PC based app menu after you tell the website to 'Unsubscribe' you from the app. I've often found myself thinking that the entire thing had stopped working, but I just had to be patient and give it time to sort itsefl out. It may be that you need to leave it logged in all the time instead of firing it up when you want to use it.

    On the Android tablet Bluestacks Cloud Connect app, it's easy enough to select any of your Android apps for connection and syncing, but I can't 'unconnect' those apps that I've decided are unsuitable for the task.

    It's impressive that they've managed to do all this and any app that may need lots of typing and would benfit from a big screen is a good candidate for trying with this. Apart from the Facebook login thing and the clunky slowness to get going, I was happy with it.


    1. Arctic fox

      "It's good, in parts"

      Thanks for the review - very useful. :)

      Two things kill my interest in this program. 1, Not functional unless you are online. 2, You have got to have a FB account. They want you logged on all the time and they want access to your online "social life" - social engineering much?

    2. Old Handle


      Never mind then.

    3. frank ly Silver badge

      I was wrong about needing to be logged in

      When I wrote my comments, last night, I think that BlueStacks was being hammered by lots of people trying it out. Hence, it was very slow to respond. I assumed that it was my logging in to the Bluestacks website and the Android CloudConnect app that made it start working, but this seems to have been a timing coincidence.

      This morning, I fired up the Bluestacks gadget on my laptop (without being logged in to ther website and without running or being logged in on the CloudConnect app). It worked within about five seconds and I was able to use my Android apps on the laptop and see editing changes appear on my Wildfire and my Vega after a manual sync on the apps.

      1. Arctic fox

        RE: "I was wrong about needing to be logged in"

        Thanks for getting back on that although I still have to say that the need to open a FB account is a dealbreaker as far as I am concerned. :)

    4. patrick_bateman
      Thumb Up

      Now that's a review!

  5. Steve Evans

    Not bad...

    Took a couple of goes to get it to install (Win7 64bit), but worked eventually.

    Bad news is that you can't get to their "app store" without using facebook as your sign in, something I'm not willing to do.

    NTS: Create dumpable facebook profile.

  6. Alex Wilson


    Tried installing again and it worked fine....alpha software for ya:)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    erm, fail...

    Correct me if I'm wrong here please...

    This is a release for windows, right?

    Great, so why is there a macbook in the promotional video?

    That's a minor point, the major point is ... why?

    These are apps developed for a *mobile* device. Yep, a small form factor *mobile* device.

    Ok, humour me, perhaps this could run on a windows based mobile device - that would be neat, yes, I can see a market there.

    But on a windows desktop?


    "Why not" I hear the cry go out, well, if it floats your boat, go grab it.

    *or* you could just use the apps on a native android device that they were intended for.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not ready for prime time

    A couple of big issues, one is that it wants full control of your facebook account to use the cloud apps utility, second is that 90% of the apps I tried to do via the cloud apps were tagged 'unavailable'.

    Deleted it and removed app permissions, will wait for a less risky version.

  9. Studley

    Requires a Facebook login

    Bah, and it was looking so good until that point. When will they learn?

    It really needs full Market integration too. As someone who's still seeing out a contract on a HTC Hero, there's a fair range of 2.3 / 3.0 apps that I simply can't install, and this seemed like a good way to get at them. Trouble is, as you have to push your apps from Android to PC, I'm still stuck because I can't install the apps on Android in the first place - that's the problem I'm trying to solve!

  10. David Unsworth
    Thumb Down

    WWell I downloaded this today after a mail from a colleague but no joy, just refuses to install which is a shame as I really wanted a play with this!

  11. Alex Wilson

    No luck so far...

    Having no luck getting this working, just dumps a folder full of java into my /program files/minibar folder. No .exe?

  12. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Can the muppets at HP please take notice

    This is something half of el-reg readership has been pointing to as the obvious salvation route for WebOS. It speaks volumes about the level of muppetness at HP that some guys in a garage deliver it first and for Android (it is harder to do that there).

  13. Peddler

    Why not sell it to Google and let them make a Chrome browser extension out of it? Then you could get the Android Market.

  14. deains


    I can't believe they managed the enormous complexity of getting some Java code to run on a Windows environment.

  15. Eponymous Cowherd


    Needs Farcebook account.

    Not interested.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Needs facebook?

      Simple... then just create a new throw away facebook account. You never need to use it again, and why should you put genuine(*) info in it? Same goes for any service that needs an email account to active and use - just create a throw away hotmail account.

      * I am of course a 105 year old Algerian grandmother with an Android fetish.

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